HP: A Layoff Storm’s a Comin’

Apple takes a lot of flack for the business concept “Designed in California, made in China.” But even the most casual hi-tech observer will acknowledge it’s an industry standard, not the exception.

So you may be forgiven if you heaved a heavy sigh but didn’t raise an eyebrow at the news that Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive, Meg Whitman, plans to announce jobs cuts 30,000 or more jobs, most of them outside China, when H.P. announces earnings for its second fiscal quarter on Wednesday.

The New York Times adds today that unnamed executives say HP will seek layoffs and voluntary retirements from across the company. The total downsizing could come out to as much as 10 percent of HP’s 324,000-person work force.

HP is a storied Silicon Valley pioneer, but these days many say it seems like a dinosaur compared to newbie companies making their billions on cloud computing, smartphones and tablets. PCs? Printers? “Pshaw!” say the critics, although it’s hard to separate HP’s wander in the wilderness from the executive boardroom drama that has clouded the company’s image in recent years. There’s also plenty of grist for students of management to study.

CEO Meg Whitman, erstwhile candidate for California Governor, took the HP big seat promising to set the company on a growth course, and HP recently announced a series of lightweight laptops, called ultrabooks, intended to compete against similar machines from Apple. The company also hopes to win profits with a cloud-computing data center using its newest, more energy-efficient servers.

The thing is, much of that business  has already moved to Taiwan.

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  • Jonathan

    What a tremendous failure on the part of Ms. Whitman and the HP board.  So the strategy is: no vision, no real ideas, just buzzwords and spastic destructive actions meant to inflate the bottom line and distract everyone’s attention from the real problem.  What a shame.

Author

Rachael Myrow

From KQED’s Bureau in San Jose, Rachael Myrow’s mandate is to cover politics, economics, technology and culture in a region that stretches from Burlingame to Edenvale to Fremont. She also covers food and blogs for Bay Area Bites. Her posting as Silicon Valley Correspondent follows more than seven years as the daily host of KQED's California Report, broadcast on NPR affiliates throughout the state. She continues to guest host The California Report Magazine and Forum, and files as a freelancer for NPR and PRI’s The World. Before KQED, she worked for Marketplace and KPCC in Los Angeles.

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